Rugby World Cup semifinals set
Rugby World Cup semifinals
New Zealand v South Africa
9 a.m. Saturday
Australia v Argentina
10 a.m., Sunday
The Rugby World Cup quarterfinals were a case of north versus south in four epic encounters this past weekend, with the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship sides taking the honors.
South Africa edged Wales 23-19 with a last minute try to Fourie Du Preez to set up a classic meeting with New Zealand in the semifinals next weekend. There was nothing between these two teams, and the match went down to the wire with Springbok No. 8 Duane Vermullen creating some magic to assist Du Preez for the winning score.
The All Blacks dominated the French running in nine trys to send Les Blues back to Paris with a heavy 62-13 defeat. The All Blacks look set to hit top gear next week after a ruthless display from the World Champions.
Argentina ramped up their campaign with a convincing 43-20 victory against an injury-ravaged Irish side. The Pumas are gaining momentum at the right time, and will take plenty of confidence into their semifinal clash with Australia next week.
In the most dramatic match of the tournament to date, Australia snuck past Scotland 35-34 in a highly controversial match. The Wallabies did score five trys to three, however, South African referee Craig Joubert had a heavy hand in the match, issuing a debatable yellow card to Scottish No. 14 Sean Maitland, which cost his team 10 points while he was in the sin bin, and awarding a penalty late in the match to gift Australia the win.
That penalty should have been a scrum, and I would suggest with only one minute left on the clock, Scotland would have hung on to win.
Next week, we will see the four rugby championship sides contest the semifinals and rugby fans worldwide are in for a treat of classic southern hemisphere rugby.
Julian Bristow is the coach of the Steamboat Springs Rugby Club and will be following the Rugby World Cup for the Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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